Private Pilot License

What are the PPL holder rights as pilot?

  1. As a private pilot, you may not act as a pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire, nor may you be paid to act as a pilot in command. However, you may be paid or hired to act as a pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:                          

    • The flight is only incidental to that business or employment or;
    • The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.

⇨You may equally share the operating expenses of a flight with passengers.

These expenses may only involve fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or airplane rental fees.

⇨You can demo aircraft for sale.

⇨If you are an aircraft salesperson and have at least 200 hours of logged flight time, you may demonstrate an airplane in flight to a prospective buyer.

⇨You can provide airplane rides to raise money for charity.

⇨You may act as a pilot in command of a charitable, nonprofit, or community event flight. You can participate in search and rescue.

Solo Flying

The benefits of solo are twofold: It builds confidence in the student’s mind to support continued progress, and it is more efficient because the CFI cannot interrupt the student’s train of thought by sharing pearls of wisdom from the right seat.

The goal of soloing is to prove, to the student and the rest of the flying world, that enough knowledge and skill have been implanted to allow command of the air. Before entering the next phase of training, when we’ll be occupied with cross-country navigation, several hours of solo practice will be needed to polish basic flying technique–something that can deteriorate in an environment of longer trips.

The solo is the first rung on the ladder, but make no mistake about it. It is a major accomplishment. By soloing, you have proven that you are a pilot, not just a pupil. No one can come up there to help you get the airplane down; you’re totally dependent on the skills you’ve brought with you. Your instructor will let you solo when you’re ready, and not before.

In some cases, when the student is given permission to fly alone the instructor directs the student to fly three circuits of the traffic pattern each accompanied by a full stop landing. During the first solo circuit, the flight instructor may supervise the student’s performance from the ground, paying close attention to the approach and landing. Some instructors keep a radio handy, if there is one in the aircraft, in case the student pilot should need assistance or advice.

Depending on the country, a minimum number of training hours must have been completed by the student to be allowed to solo. In most countries, it is assumed that such students will be familiar with ―and may have to pass an examination― on the relevant Air Laws or Regulations, and will have completed exercises in handling aircraft in normal conditions, and also what to do in the case of an engine failure on takeoff, in-flight, and before landing.

The first solo is one of the most special moments in your flying career and perhaps even your life. Give that moment the attention it deserves. Your adrenaline levels are bound to run high, but try to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

Dual Flying

It means flight time during which a person is receiving flight instruction from an appropriately licensed and rated pilot on board of dual control aircraft.

When an aircraft carries two or more pilots as members of the operating crew, one of them shall, before the flight commences, be designated by the operator as the aircraft PIC, according to operational requirements, who may delegate the conduct of the flight to another suitably qualified pilot.
 All flying carried 
out as PIC is entered in the logbook as ‘PIC’. A pilot flying as ‘PICUS’ or ‘SPIC’ enters flying time as ‘PIC’ but all such entries are to be certified by the PIC or FI in the ‘Remarks’ column of the logbook.

Of the 45 hours in total, a minimum of 25 hours will be under dual instruction and at least 10 hours supervised solo. The 10 hours solo flight must include at least 5 hours cross country time and this will include a Qualifying Cross Country Flight of at least 150 nautical miles landing at two other airfields. The remaining hours can be completed dual, solo or some of each.

The dual instruction flight environment has to be one of the most demanding learning environments for both the instructor and the student. This is true regardless of the student is primary or advanced, and the instruction is an organized training program or a periodic recurrence ride.

Good instructors are accustomed to this environment, and can vary their teaching techniques according to the student’s ability to accommodate the workload. Students, on the other hand, have a limited amount of flexibility in their ability to adjust to an increased cockpit workload. That is, after all, why they are students.

What is the course theoretical subjects?

The PPL flight instruction syllabus covers the following:

  1. Pre-flight operations, including mass and balance, airplane inspection and servicing. 
  2. Airport and traffic pattern operations, collision avoidance precautions and procedures.
  3. Control of the airplane by external visual reference.
  4. Flight at critically low airspeeds, recognition of and recovery from, incipient and full stalls.
  5. Flight at critically high airspeeds, recognition of and recovery from spiral dives.
  6. Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings.
  7. Maximum performance (short field and obstacle clearance, takeoffs, and landings).
  8. Flight by reference solely to instruments.
  9. Cross-country flying using visual reference, dead reckoning and radio navigation aids.
  10. Emergency operations, including simulated airplane equipment malfunctions.
  11. Operations to and from and transiting controlled airports, compliance with air traffic services procedures, communication procedures and phraseology.

In order for you to take the PPL skills test at the end of the PPL course, you will need to have successfully completed all nine theoretical exams in air law, human performance, meteorology, navigation, flight performance and planning, and aircraft general principles of flight radio. The questions are all multiple choice and have a pass mark of 75%.

PPL time frame

You have 18 months in which to complete all nine exams from the end of the month that you have attempted your first exam, and once all exams have been completed, you then have 24 months from this date in which to successfully pass your PPL skills test.

Which aircraft should I fly to complete my course?

This is entirely up to you. From a financial point of view, the 2 seat Cessna 172 or PA-28 is the good basic trainer. When you have your license, you can then complete the familiarization training with an instructor so that you are able to fly different types of aircraft and take your family and friends to lunch across the country and beyond.

We operate over a dozen aircraft from Wonderboom Airfield in Pretoria; 

Why not have a seat in the aircraft to see which one you prefer, maybe even take a trial lesson before you decide? Once you have started your training many people prefer to stick to one type of aircraft for consistency, as they do handle differently, it will boost your confidence and many students training for their PPL get quite attached to the one that you fly!

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